At What Point Is the Trucking Company Negligent?
For many, the idea of suffering an injury is daunting, especially when you consider that it’s most often caused because of someone else’s negligent and reckless actions. It’s difficult to overcome the overwhelming emotion and physical damage on your own.
Even more complex is when other situations are present, such as an accident caused by something such as a crash involving a large semi-truck. These types of accidents aren’t just physically damaging, they can also have a large emotional toll on us because trucks are so prominent on the road.
When a trucking accident occurs, it’s quick to point the blame on the driver of the truck, but it’s also important for injured parties to understand that the truck driver is not the only person at fault—in fact they might not be at fault at all.
In many cases, it is the trucking company who should be considered negligent and forced to accept liability in a trucking accident. Below, we detail the ways in which a trucking company may be considered responsible for the crash and the subsequent injuries.
What Happens When a Truck Driver is Tired?
There are many situations in which large commercial truck drivers are too tired to properly and safely operate their trucks. And it’s easy to see why they may be the at-fault party in the event that fatigue causes a serious accident.
However, there are other situations that may come into play and the fatigued driver may not be violating the Hours of Service regulations on their own accord. There may be underlying factors to this decision, including the following:
- Because the trucking industry often has tight deadlines, the trucking company may force the driver to operate the truck longer than they should in order to meet a specific deadline, even encouraging the driver to lie on their logs and possibly threatening the truck driver’s job.
- In order to meet high demands and make more deliveries possible, owners may encourage drivers to work longer than the regulated amount of time so they can finish with one job and move on to the next in a timely manner. This could result in the driver being fatigued.
If it is shown that the trucking company and the owner did anything to force the driver to work longer than they should and it resulted in a crash caused by a tired driver, the company and owner may be held accountable for the damages.
Proper Inspection Is Necessary
No matter the situation, the trucking company must ensure that before the truck leaves the warehouse, every aspect must be properly inspected in order to determine that everything is safe and loaded correctly to avoid potential issues.
In terms of what needs to be inspected, the following should be considered by the trucking company:
- The trucking company should ensure that the cargo has been loaded properly. This means checking to ensure it meets regulations regarding how heavy the truck can be when traveling through the roads and highways.
- The trucking company should ensure that cargo has not been loaded in a manner where the weight is not distributed correctly and safely. A trailer that is heavier on one side could lead to a potential rollover accident and make it difficult for the driver to control the truck.
- The trucking company must inspect various parts of the truck to ensure there is no excessive wear and tear or defects. For instance, they must check the brakes for thinning and if they need to be changed, the action must be taken before the truck leaves the warehouse.
Proper inspection and maintenance are necessary factors in order to keep the trailer, the driver, and other individuals on the road safe from serious harm. Should something fail on the truck or the cargo be overloaded or unevenly loaded, it can be a serious problem.
Failure to ensure proper safety means the trucking company can be held accountable for any of the accidents and injuries that may result if the truck is involved.
Failure to Hire Licensed Drivers or Provide Proper Training
In order to drive these large trucks, individuals must have a proper Commercial Driver’s License. This means they fully understand how to operate these trucks and have passed the necessary testing to be approved to operate these on the road.
Without this proper licensing and training, the truck driver should not be allowed to operate on the road. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and the trucking company may not adhere to these regulations.
For instance, a person without a CDL may be hired because they do not require a higher amount of pay than someone who has undergone the necessary testing. Or the driver without the CDL is willing to violate regulations for the trucking company to get the job done. These are some reasons the trucking company may hire an employee that isn’t licensed.
Beyond licensing and training, trucking companies must also check the background of the person they hire to ensure that they can operate the truck safely and efficiently. For instance, knowing if someone has a history of epilepsy, their condition to drive, and whether or not they are taking medication for the condition.
Why are Trucking Companies Potentially Dangers?
Trucking companies often dictate how safe their drivers and trucks are and what potential dangers may exist when they send their fleet on the road. Unfortunately, these are often large trucking companies with the protection of the insurance companies and large legal teams.
Suffering an accident involving a large commercial truck means the injured party must speak with the insurance company whose goal is to protect their own profits and bottom line, working to keep individuals from securing compensation for the injuries they’ve sustained.
Working with the insurance company is never easy for any individual to endure, especially when you consider the physical, emotional, and financial hardships that they are already facing. Having a large corporation try to put fault on you or minimize the impact of your injuries is not something you should have to encounter.
Unfortunately, it happens, but taking the necessary steps for legal action can help the victim bring this negligence to light and hopefully protect others from encountering the same situation in the future. Legal action incites change.
How Fieger Law Can Help You
If you’ve been injured as a result of a large trucking accident, it’s important to understand what rights and options you have to hold the negligent party accountable. You should know that you deserve the maximum compensation and—although you can’t get rid of your physical hardship—getting justice may be the peace of mind you need.
At Fieger Law, we have experienced and knowledgeable Michigan truck accident attorneys who fully understand who may be held accountable and what legal avenues may be available to you to move forward in the most effective way possible.
You shouldn’t have to endure this difficult situation on your own, especially if the insurance company is trying to take advantage of your rights. We stand by your side from start to finish, fighting to protect you from unscrupulous actions, and seeking the most favorable outcome possible on your behalf.
At Fieger Law, we know trucking accidents and the people of Michigan trust us to fight for them. When you’ve been harmed by negligence, you can call us at (800) 294-6637 to discuss your potential legal options to seek compensation and justice.